Advance Asian Security for Common Development

Remarks by Yu Zhengsheng Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference
Your Excellency Chairman of CICA Non-governmental Forum,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,
Beijing in May is embracing the vibrance of a full-blown summer. In this beautiful season, representatives from member states and observers of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and several countries beyond this region gather here for the first Annual Conference of the CICA Non-governmental Forum. On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to express my warm congratulations on the opening of the Conference and extend my sincere welcome to all of you.
The CICA Non-governmental Forum is established under the important initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping at the fourth CICA Summit last year. It aims to lay a solid social foundation for building up a non-governmental exchange network of CICA, spreading the CICA concept of security, increasing CICA’s influence, and promoting regional security governance. This first Annual Conference of the CICA Non-governmental Forum, under the theme of “Asia in the next decade—security and development”, is attended by not only former political leaders, but also experts, scholars, and those from the media and NGOs. I hope you will pool your wisdom and contribute your advice on Asia’s security and development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and the founding of the United Nations. The main theater of the War in the East was in Asia, where the Asian people made enormous sacrifice amid the scourges of war for the final victory. Winning the World Anti-Fascist War had a significant and profound influence on the progress of human civilization and the establishment of the world order, laying a solid foundation for the long-term peace and stability in Asia after the war. Asian countries have since entered a golden era for development.
In the past 70 years, Asia maintained overall stability in its security situation. A host of countries achieved national independence and liberation, giving a boost to the forces for peace in the region and the world. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, championed by China, India and Myanmar, earned wide recognition and support and became the basic principles governing international relations. Regional security cooperation mechanisms of various types were established in Asia, and cooperation expanded in such non-traditional security areas as counter-terrorism, cyber-security, and disaster prevention and relief.
In the past 70 years, Asia made historic progress in its development endeavor. A growing number of Asian countries have found the development paths that suit their national conditions. Asia has become the region with the greatest development vitality and potential in the world and one of the important engines driving global growth. Its GDP surged from 15% of the world’s total in 1952 to 30% percent at present, and is expected to reach 50% in the middle of this century. Cooperation at regional, subregional and interregional levels keeps deepening, and solid steps have been made in connectivity development.
However, there is still need to cement the foundation for Asia’s development and prosperity. Risks and challenges remain on the way ahead. In particular, regional security cooperation is lagging behind the fast-growing economic cooperation. The geopolitical landscape in Asia is complex, with long-running hotspot issues calling for settlement and outstanding historical issues intertwining with current frictions over interests. Cold War mentality of zero-sum game and “you win I lose” thinking still sells to some extent in Asia. Non-traditional security challenges remain acute in such areas as terrorism, transnational crime, energy, food, cyberspace security, natural disaster and public health. It is difficult for regional security cooperation mechanisms to keep up with new developments. Asia still has a long way to go to achieve enduring peace and common development.
Facing the drastically-changing regional situation and intricate security challenges, countries in the region need to consider how to embark on a path to build up a new-type of security in Asia for the benefit of all countries, so as to forge an environment of enduring peace for the development and prosperity of the region.
At the CICA Summit in Shanghai last year, President Xi Jinping put forward the Asian security concept featuring common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, which was warmly received by all member states and written into the Shanghai Declaration. Common security means that the security of each and every country should be respected and ensured. While one country tries to ensure its own security, it should also let others have security. To achieve comprehensive security, we should take into full account historical background and reality, immediate and long-term interests, domestic and international situation and traditional and non-traditional security. A multi-pronged approach that covers political, economic, scientific, technological, social, cultural and security fields is required. Cooperative security means that disputes should be settled through peaceful means, and dialogue and cooperation should be conducted to enhance strategic mutual trust with a view to promoting security of all countries and the region. To pursue sustainable security, we must work hard to improve people’s lives, narrow the wealth gap, promote common development and make security durable by addressing both the symptoms and root causes of the problems we face. This Asian security concept follows the trend of the times towards a multi-polar and globalized world, fits the tradition and meets the real needs of Asia and provides important guiding principles for managing the complex security environment and enhancing security cooperation in this region. To earnestly implement this concept, I wish to put forward the following four points:
First, we should deepen political mutual trust and build a new-type of partnership in Asia. With the advance of economic globalization and regional integration, Asian countries are more interdependent than ever before economically and also face intertwined security challenges unseen before. Countries swim or sink together and no country can stay aloof in front of the challenges we face. We should forge a sense of community of shared destiny and build a new-type of partnership of win-win cooperation. We should pursue win-win cooperation in economy as well as in political, security, cultural and many other areas. We should promote win-win cooperation not only in this region but also win-win and win-for-all with countries outside the region.
China is committed to peace, development and win-win cooperation. It upholds the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness in its neighborhood diplomacy, seeks friendship and partnership with its neighbors and works to build a neighborhood of harmony and prosperity. China has established partnership with nearly all Asian countries for win-win cooperation. China is ready to work together with all countries in the region to explore a new path of “dialogue instead of confrontation and partnership instead of alliance.”
Second, we should pursue security dialogue and build a platform for security cooperation in Asia. A Chinese proverb goes, “One single tree doesn’t make a forest”. Facing rising challenges, we should uphold multilateralism, build consensus through consultation, and maximize common security interests among Asian countries on the basis of the principle of non-interference into each other’s internal affairs and accommodating each other’s comfort level. And we should work step-by-step to build up the security architecture and institutional arrangements that serve the interests of most countries in the region. In recent years, regional countries have made quite a number of good efforts in this regard. The CICA summits, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summits and the Six-Party Talks on the Korean nuclear issue have all played an important role in safeguarding regional security, laying a good foundation for further improving regional security cooperation architecture.
China attaches importance to the promotion of regional security dialogue and cooperation. It has successfully hosted the summits of CICA and SCO as well as the fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, initiated and promoted the Six-Party Talks on the Korean nuclear issue, and taken an active part in the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit, thus making its contribution to the building of regional security mechanisms. China will continue to support CICA in its capacity- and institutional-building to become a security dialogue and cooperation platform that covers the whole of Asia and, on that basis, explore the establishment of a regional security cooperation architecture. China also advocates closer coordination and dialogue between CICA and other organizations in the region, international multilateral institutions and countries outside the region, to enhance security cooperation and effectively guarantee security in Asia.
Third, we should strengthen economic cooperation so as to resolve security challenges through greater development. The past seven decades tell us that security and development are always connected and reinforce each other. Development cannot last without security, and security is unsustainable without development. Asia is home to most emerging markets and developing countries. Development tops the agenda for all Asian countries and is also the master key to address security issues in this region. We must focus on development, work actively to improve people’s lives, promote social fairness and equity, and address both symptoms and root causes of security problems, so as to lay a firm foundation for security. We should advance regional economic integration, increase connectivity, expand common interests, and improve the overall development of the region, in an effort to achieve sustainable security through sustainable development.
China’s development started in Asia, finds its support in Asia and delivers benefits to Asia. By deepening mutually beneficial cooperation with other Asian countries, China has become the largest trading partner, the number one export market and an important source of investment of many countries in Asia. China has worked actively for the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, promoted regional FTA talks and regional cooperation process and supported poverty alleviation in Asia, in a joint effort with other Asian countries to ensure that development and security will reinforce each other in Asia.
Fourth, we need to promote inter-civilization dialogue to build popular support for security cooperation. Asia is vast and populous, with numerous ethnic groups and different civilizations. This is the common asset of Asian countries. No civilization is superior to others; and each has its own distinctive features. We should respect the diversity of civilizations and the right of various countries to independently choose their development paths. We need to promote mutual learning and common development of different civilizations and social systems through exchange and dialogue. China proposes a conference of dialogue among Asian civilizations to strengthen exchange and mutual learning and make the dialogue a bridge between people’s hearts, a bond promoting regional and world peace and a source of vitality for regional security cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,
CICA is the most extensive and representative regional multilateral security forum with the largest participation in Asia. After 23 years of development, it has expanded into an important platform for Asian countries to deepen mutual trust, build consensus, maintain stability and pursue development. With enhancing mutual trust and coordination and promoting security and stability in Asia as its purposes, CICA has set confidence building measures in five dimensions, i.e. military and political dimension, new threats and challenges, economic dimension, human dimension and environment dimension, contributing significantly to deeper regional security cooperation. In line with the trend of the times towards multi-polarity and regional integration, CICA is an exceptional pan-Asian security cooperation mechanism that provides a basic framework for Asian countries to seek an integrated solution to issues in Asia and build a unified regional security and cooperation architecture. Looking into the future, we have full confidence in the prospects of CICA.
Over the past year since China became the chair for 2014-2016, it has earnestly fulfilled its responsibilities and done a great deal of fruitful work for implementing the confidence building measures and expanding the external interactions of CICA. China has received strong support from relevant parties and I wish to take this opportunity to express sincere thanks to all of them.
As a member of the CICA family, China will continue to take CICA as a platform for discussions with other parties on regional security and development, so as to raise the capabilities of various countries to take joint actions against security threats and challenges. To this end, China wishes to make the following proposals:
Guided by the Asian security concept, we follow the purposes and principles put forward in the CICA basic documents, strengthen mutual trust and coordination between member states and between member states and observer states, seek common ground while shelving differences, respect diverse civilizations and work for peaceful solutions to disputes;
We fully consider the features and development needs of countries in this region, adopt concrete steps to develop economy and improve people’s livelihood, jointly cope with the profound impact of the global financial crisis, narrow down development gaps, and promote poverty alleviation, so that the achievements of regional cooperation will benefit all countries;
We formulate a joint code of conduct on security for all Asian countries based on existing practices of security cooperation, strengthen CICA’s cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Commonwealth of Independent States, ASEAN and other regional organizations or mechanisms, improve the network of multilateral security mechanisms in Asia, establish a mechanism for regular exchange and cooperation in combating terrorism, separatism and extremism and raise the level of security cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,
Asia is at a new historical starting point, facing rare development opportunities as well as various security challenges. It is my belief that as long as Asian countries carry forward the spirit of solidarity and pull together like passengers in the same boat and work with one mind, we will surely be able to establish a solid security cooperation architecture and safeguard lasting peace and common prosperity in Asia.
Finally, I wish the first Annual Conference of the CICA Non-governmental Forum a complete success.